Memorial Hospital cancels employee turkeys and cuts annual bonuses

Published 4:55 pm Friday, November 21, 2014

Hospital employees will not be receiving turkeys this Christmas, as Memorial Hospital CEO Billy Walker explained at the Tuesday board meeting that fewer people were claiming them each year and they seem to have outlived their benefit.

At the same time, discussion was held about whether or not to give longevity bonuses to employees. In previous years $20 per year of service (after one year) has been given at Christmastime. Walker said they had estimated the cost this year for 387 qualifying employees at $82,000.  He believed with the current cash position that awarding the bonuses would be a “red flag.” Finance committee chair, Glennie Bench suggested a compromise — giving $10 per year and using the money that would have been spent on turkeys to the fund. Dr. Charles Walker said he thought the employees are all hard working, dedicated employees and they deserve to be rewarded and he would not have a problem giving them the whole $20 per year. Board member Dr. Linda Jones agreed with Bench and after further discussion, Bench’s suggestion was put as a motion, which carried.

The hospital financial report for the month of October was more positive than last month. It showed a net income of $210,649 for the month. However, it is still showing a loss of $508.318 year-to-date.

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Two capital equipment purchases were approved.

• Stryker Orthopedic power equipment for use in surgery was approved at a total five-year cost of $40,112, including service warranties.

• 102 new Hill-Rom maxifloat replacement mattresses for use in the Manor. These will be replaced at the rate of 10 for each of the next 10 months at a total cost not to exceed $22,032.

The Dietary Services Department has been undergoing analysis and Lee Harris reported on the status of that investigation. Following analysis of proposals from two out-sourced food management companies, it was his recommendation that the service be kept in-house with two objectives, to improve food satisfaction while reducing costs, with a new food manager being named in the near future. Necessary renovations will be made to the department, and it was suggested that the cost of meals be reviewed as there has been no price increase since 2001, in spite of rising food costs.

The board approved attendance by its members at the Georgia Hospital Association Annual Trustee meeting to be held January 9-11 at Reynolds Plantation. Although it was acknowledged it was expensive, it was the consensus that it was worthwhile.

The board also approved proceeding with an application to the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) loan program, described as having up to $2 million dollars available interest free, ten years amortization, with payments deferred for two years. This would be used to make necessary improvements to the aging facility.

Discussion was also had regarding the possibility of placing an additional one cent sales tax on the ballot for use by the hospital. Charles Tyson said that amount could amount up to $5 million a year. “It would be our salvation,” he added.

Tyson also suggested it would be a good idea to schedule a meeting with the city and county governments after the first of the year to give the new members a program  about what the hospital has to offer.

Billy Walker gave his CEO update indicating the recent health fairs given have been nearly double what they did last year. They are still in process of scheduling one with the county and one with Stones employees.

Likewise, the mammogram specials offered in October resulted in 334 mammos compared to the monthly average of 170.

Announcements concerning personnel included:

• A new ob/gyn, physician, Adrienne Crow, coming to Magnolia Women’s Center.

• A new nurse practitioner will be coming to Amelia Avenue Primary Care Center.

• A new Chief Financial Officer has been hired and will begin in December.

The Medical Staff and Authority Christmas Party will be held December 5 at Southwind Plantation.

A Physicians retreat will be held December 11 at the Holiday Inn Express.

Following a closed executive session to discuss personnel and strategic planning, the board returned to open meeting and approved the minutes of the last executive meeting and November credentials for medical personnel.

No authority meeting will be scheduled for December, following the tradition of prior years.